Everything must have an adequate explanation, including the universe as a whole. You may not know why it’s here, but you know there’s a reason it is here. It didn’t just pop out of nothing, and whatever produced it had to have incredible properties. An effect cannot be greater than its cause. That’s a basic law of the universe.
The word cosmological comes from cosmos, which means “world.” The cosmological argument demands an adequate explanation for the existence of the world, or universe. One version of the argument says:
>Premise One: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
>Premise Two: The universe began to exist.
>Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Support for Premise One: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
Our common experience shows us that this is true. If something could come from nothing, why wouldn’t things just pop in and out of existence all the time? That just doesn’t happen.
How could nothing produce something? Nothing would have to be something already in order to produce something else. So then nothing would not really be nothing, but something, if it were going to create something else. If we say that the universe created itself, we would have to say that it existed before it existed in order to create its own existence. Something would have to be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. This is self-contradictory, and absurd.
Support for Premise Two: The universe began to exist.
One reason most scientists believe that the universe had a beginning is because of the apparent expansion of the universe. Another reason to reject the idea of an eternal universe is the existence of the laws of thermodynamics. The first law states that matter/energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The second law states that the usable energy in the universe is being converted slowly into unusable energy. When you put the two laws together, you have a fixed amount of energy in the universe, but this energy is depleting (in terms of usability). What is the significance of this? The universe is slowly dying. If it has always existed as it does now (including the natural laws of the universe), the energy in the universe would already be spread out evenly. We would already be in a state of equilibrium, meaning everything would be the same temperature, and no life could exist.
So back to the syllogism itself:
Premise One: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
Premise Two: The universe began to exist.
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
What Kind of Cause?
So we know that the universe has a cause, but could it have been an impersonal cause? A force without a mind? Let’s suppose that there was an impersonal force in the beginning and everything else arose from that. If that were the case, there would only be three factors to explain all the complexities of the universe. Francis Schaeffer identifies these factors:
“Beginning with the impersonal, everything, including man, must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus chance. Do not let anyone divert your mind at this point. There are no other factors in the formula, because there are no other factors that exist... . No one has ever demonstrated how time plus chance, beginning with an impersonal force, can produce the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the [personality] of man.”
The universe could not have come from an impersonal force, whether it be matter, energy or some other impersonal force. This Cause had to have a mind to will the universe into existence since it had a beginning. And it had to have enough power and intelligence to produce the specified complexity of the universe. A personal, powerful, intelligent, eternal Cause provides an adequate explanation (an accounting) for the existence of the universe.
Who Caused God?
Sometimes professing atheists raise the question: “If everything needs a cause, then who caused God?” But we didn’t say everything that exists needs a cause; we said that anything that has a beginning has a cause. Since God doesn’t have a beginning, he doesn’t need a cause. Actually, the question, “Who caused God?” is a nonsense question, since what is really being asked is: “Who caused the uncaused Cause?” God by definition is the uncaused, eternal, self-existent Cause of everything else.
For something at all to exist now, something must have always existed. What we are arguing is that there has to be an eternal, self-existent Being to account for the existence of anything else in the universe. There has to be an eternal, uncaused Cause because otherwise there wouldn’t be anything else at all. We call that Cause God because that Being not only has to be eternal, but he also has to be intelligent and all-powerful to bring the universe into existence.
 When talking to a skeptic about this, you can ask if he agrees with the vast majority of scientists that the universe has a beginning. How most scientists interpret the beginning is wrong, but the common ground we have with them is that there was a beginning. So it is good to take advantage of that, and use that as a starting point.
 Francis Schaeffer, He is There and He is Not Silent, Tyndale House, Carol Stream, Illinois, pp. 7–8, 1980.